RIP France Gall

Sad to hear that sweet France Gall died today. In memory of her and all the joy her music has given me over the years I’d like to share these images from a Guy Peellaert book I own.  Peellaert designed the packaging and branding for a make-up range that was to be fronted by France Gall – it never saw the light of day in the end, but imagine how lovely it would be to own some France Gall cosmetics!

Missing you already, France X

Pierre Koralnik film Anna to be honoured with a plaque

I have recently been in touch with the film director Pierre Koralnik, who made one of my very favourite films: Anna (1967).


If you’ve not seen Anna, well, you should.  It’s a musical, and whilst I don’t usually like musicals too much myself, this is a great musical thanks to Serge Gainsbourg’s superb soundtrack.  It stars the lovely Anna Karina, Jean-Claude Brialy, Serge Gainsbourg, Eddy Mitchell, and Marianne Faithfull amongst others.  It is so incredibly stylish and pop-art – it’s a “must see” as far as I’m concerned.

Pierre Koralnik has told me that on Saturday 20 August 2016 the Mayor of Deauville will be unveiling a plaque in honour of this wonderful film, which was partly filmed on the beach at Deauville.  This is great news and very well-deserved.  If you’re lucky enough to be in the area on that date you can go along and listen to Anna Karina and Pierre Koralnik (and others) discussing the film before the plaque is formally unveiled at 7pm.  More details are available here:

Anna-karina-photo-bleueUnfortunately I won’t be there myself, so instead I might just re-watch the film and look at these lovely press photos of Anna Karina that I bought a little while back:

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Anna is available on DVD complete with the CD soundtrack.

French pop advertising from the 1960s

As some of you may have noticed I have had a little break from blogging recently.  I can’t say I’m back with a vengeance but here’s a little post with some of the French pop advertisements I have come across in a few of my Mademoiselle Age Tendre and Salut Les Copains magazines:

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This looks like Guy Peellaert Sylvie Vartan artwork for Simon cleansing milk

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France Gall is rehearsing, apparently, with two cute dogs (Problème and Nougat) whilst wearing a “Guitare” dress – a lovely photo but not a fantastic advert in that, at a glance, I’m not sure what it’s selling!

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Stone is wearing her favourite skirt by Gérard Pasquier “Vingt-Ans”, very nice it is too

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Did Sheila really have her own shop?  Looks like she did or at least she had her own clothing range anyway

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Rika Zaraï chose Odilène “the label of the stars” and why not?

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Is this really Sheila?  Well, it looks like Sheila advertising something else – some natural care cream and some make-up remover but can I see an image of the product in the advert? No.  It looks like Sheila is selling a bathrobe or something!

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This looks like more Guy Peellaert style artwork again – this time Christine Delaroche is wearing a Fric Frac outfit that could be purchased at  Gérard Pasquier “Vingt-Ans”

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No one famous this time (I don’t think!) but I like the artwork – very like Peellaert again – this is for Heyraud “Hipnic” shoes.  If you want to be “in” you need to get some Hipnic American-Style shoes – I’ll take a pair of Bingo!

Light in the Attic reissue five Francoise Hardy albums


Those who regularly visit Hero Culte will know I’m a big fan of Françoise Hardy, so it won’t surprise you to hear me saying that you can never have enough Françoise Hardy records in your collection; it’s a good day when there’s a new release to buy.  And this series of reissues from the period 1962-1966 come from Light in the Attic  who always produce something stylish, so how can you go wrong when considering your next Françoise purchase?

Well, I can tell you that they sound good – remastered from the original tapes – and they look good too.  The original album artwork is used throughout, even stretching to using the original Disques Vogue label design on the discs.  But, it has to be said, those looking for bonus tracks will be disappointed – they are straight reissues.

If you’re wondering whether they’re “unauthorised” reissues, well, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that the reissues have been “authorised” by Françoise herself, but she has carried out an exclusive interview for the releases, which would be a bit of a coup if it was that evident.  I was a little disappointed on this score, but that’s just me.  There’s not a lot of evidence of the interview which is mentioned in the booklet – there are a few comments here and there, presumably because it has been spread over all five releases.  It may have been better to include the interview in all five releases in its entirety, but that’s just my opinion.

As for the rest of the detailed liner notes , they’re a good starting point for those who know little about Françoise and don’t speak much French – her many biographies and autobiographies have not been translated into English yet.  But, egotist that I am, I couldn’t help thinking that I would have done a better job myself.  For example, to say she was brought up by her mother because her parents had separated is not quite true; they were never truly together as her father already had a wife.  So discreet was this relationship that Françoise believed for a while that they must have divorced – even though divorce was frowned up at the time, it was better that than to discover that both she and her sister were born out of wedlock.  And, although it goes unstated in the liner notes, the reason she became proficient in German was probably because of her mother’s boyfriend “the baron Gilbert von Giannelli” who convinced her that Françoise and her sister Michèle should learn German, sending them off to a village near Innsbruck called Natters.  Also, why is Françoise quoted as saying she never met Monica Vitti when they worked together on Vadim’s film Château en Suède when there is photographic evidence to the contrary?

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None of this matters, of course, it’s just me being pernickety.  Anyway, I should stop moaning and be grateful that there are some reissues available for the English speaking market, so, back to the releases – all of them are available on CD now and on 180-gram vinyl from 29 January 2016:

Tous les garçons et les filles (1962)UTU614D
Le premier bonheur du jour (1963)UTU615D

Mon amie la rose (1964)UTU616D

L’Amitié (1965)UTU617D

La maison où j’ai grandi (1966)UTU618D

I’m not going to sell the music to you – any fool knows that these albums represent the classics of the 1960s Françoise Hardy back catalogue, when she could barely put a foot wrong (although it should be said I love her entire discography).  It’s all very easy on the ears and with such lovely artwork and beautiful photographs it’s a pleasure for the eyes too.

All five of these releases are being distributed in the UK via London based music distributors Southern Record Distributors, so they should be widely available in all good record shops.  Go out and buy the CDs now – or wait for the gorgeous new vinyl copies in January 2016!

Some old photos from RoBERT concerts

This post is a bit self-indulgent. Some time ago I posted some of my RoBERT memorabilia on here including the flyers and tickets I got for RoBERT’s concerts at  Café de la Danse in 2000 and 2001.  I recently found these photographs amongst my “stuff”.  They are awful quality, taken with disposable cameras from quite far back in the audience – most of them have heads obscuring the view.  In all honesty they’re not really worth sharing from a quality point of view (I cropped them a bit but didn’t bother tidying them up because it didn’t seem worth doing) but they brought back memories for me so I thought I’d share them anyway.  Who knows, someone might like to see them.

Café de la Danse, Paris, 17 June 2000

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Here’s a photo after the show of RoBERT with some fans – I don’t know them, just took an opportunity to take a better snapshot:

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Café de la Danse, Paris, 30 March 2001 – Soirée Rose

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Café de la Danse, Paris, 31 March 2001 – Soirée Bleue

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Edouard My Name is Edouard rare British interview and video

This is really exciting – I met a film maker called John Crome who told me that in the 1960s he filmed Edouard singing My Name is Edouard and doing an interview in English for the TV show A Whole Scene Going.  John is not even sure this video was ever shown at the time but I have great pleasure to tell you that he gave me a copy of the video and has now uploaded it to YouTube to share it with everyone, along with some other amazing music and cultural clips he directed in the 1960s.  I’m sure you’ll find them of interest.  You can find the Edouard video here.  You can find the rest of John Crome’s videos here.

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Douches Ecossaises 4 July 1966

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What a joy it is to watch a well-made and stylish music show – this one is Douches Ecossaises directed by Jean-Christophe Averty who makes great use of early visual effects, which may look a little dated now but which would have been exciting at the time and still look interesting when compared to what they do nowadays; people have little imagination these days. Sigh!

I’m looking at this one because, as ever, it’s got a TV appearance from Michel Polnareff – yet again promoting La poupée qui fait non – and there’s also another favourite of mine in the show:  Zouzou.  

Originally transmitted on 4 July 1966, Michel Polnareff had just turned 22.  He looks really happy in this clip, but before we get to Polnareff here’s the rest of the show in order:

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First up is French actor Christian Marin, who I know from Costa Gavras’ 1965 film Compartiment tueurs.  Here though he is singing a song which appears to be called Pourvu qu’il ne flotte pas au mois d’août, but I’m not really sure about that.  It’s not my cup of tea – very old school, accordeons, silliness etc – but Christian Marin has a great face.

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Next up, scary triplets – Les Jiminis 3 – singing Ah ! Quel malheur d’être petite fille.  Good job their parents had 3 kids because if this song is anything to go by it sounds like they use them for child slave labour, at least they can share the chores (washing, scrubbing, polishing etc) between the three of them.

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I’m not a fan of kiddies or kiddy-pop so this does not appeal to me at all.  The closest I come to liking kiddy pop is that bit in Keith West’s Excerpt from a Teenage Opera when the kids sing the Grocer Jack chorus.  These Jimini kids are way too frightening for me.  Brrr!!!

Quickly moving on:

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This is Albert Santoni singing Mon bateau.  Back to the old school again with this one – accordeons, hand clapping, background cheers, hat tilting, it’s got it all.  It sounds like a rather bad drinking song – maybe they were drunk when they recorded it. Next!

Ah! This is more like it:

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Slightly morbid clip for a song from this singer/songwriter Maurice Dulac, but it’s understandable because the track is called La veuve Sylvie, which translates as Widow Sylvie.  Maurice tells Sylvie she’ll never be his widow because he’s still alive and he’ll never marry here anyway.  Why not?  She’s to-die-for beautiful but she’s already been widowed twice before and Maurice is not going to be her third husband. Or is he…?

Great use of visuals here with the lovely little skellybobs:

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Now for a bit of dancing from Vélérie Camille:

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Very attractive lady but she looks like she’s getting on a bit so it’s all about the hands as far as she’s concerned – she wouldn’t want to put her back out, would she?  Very graceful and looks stylish but I’m not here for the dancing.  Plus she looks like the template for Pete Burns’ cosmetic surgery here:

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What has Françoise Fabian got for me?

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She’s a French actress, who later went on to appear in Buñuel’s Belle de jour and got the part of Maud opposite Jean-Louis Trintignant in Rohmer’s Ma nuit chez Maud.  Lucky!  I like her already.

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She’s a very attractive lady and here she is singing a track that seems to be called Les honneurs de l’amour – I know nothing about this, but what’s new?  It’s not bad actually, sounds like something from a film soundtrack.  It’s okay.

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And here’s Jacques Loussier with a jazzy Bach track and lots of monochrome zig-zagging all over to make my eyes go funny:

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This is good but I prefer The Swingle Singers doing Bach.  I like a bit of Bach, me.

Next up, the fabulous Zouzou. I can’t get enough of Zouzou, she’s one of my absolute favourite French singers, and this is a track written for her by the handsome Mister Jacques Dutronc – Il est parti comme il était venu. 

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Like Françoise Fabian, Zouzou also appeared in a Rohmer film: L’Amour l’après-midi.  I’m not sure why she didn’t make a bigger career out of films because she was very good.  There was talk of drug addictions and a couple of stints in prison during the 90s.  Quite sad, but I think she’s fine these days, which is good news.  Anyway, I can’t recommend Zouzou more – check out her music.  I always say this, but this particular track reminds me of Nico/VU, only better.  I think.

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From one extreme to the other – fancy following a fabulous track like that with Albert Raisner and his harmonica, eh?  O well, sit back and let it play…Douches ecossaises 31Douches ecossaises 32Douches ecossaises 33

Albert is all about the hands as well, so maybe he could join forces with Vélérie Camille and they could do a “all hands on deck” double act?   It couldn’t get any worse. Or could it…?

Douches ecossaises 34What’s this?  It’s Henri Virlogeux (ignore the typo in the TV credits, they have got his name slightly wrong) doing some ridiculous bull fighting sketch.  I will let him off but only because he was in Truffaut’s Les quatre cents coups; in Henri-Georges Clouzot’s stunning unfinished film L’Enfer; and in Balducci’s Trop jolies pour être honnêtes with Jane Birkin, amongst other things.

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You are forgiven for wasting my time, Henri.  Next, here’s Stone – what is she wearing, I wonder?  O no, NOT that horrid black and white suit again!  She certainly got her money’s worth out of that purchase.

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In any case, this is Seul, a French language cover version of Norwegian Wood.  It’s alright but Stone can do better than cover versions.  And she can change out of that suit at the same time.

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I shouldn’t complain, should I?  No, I should not because this is what happens when I complain:  Georgius doing a track called On l’appelait fleur de fortifs.  They may call it that but I call it a blast from the past – the French love their chansons, don’t they?  I would say it seems a bit out of place on the show but it doesn’t really – it’s a free for all here.  I’m just waiting for Polnareff now but in the meantime at least the visuals are good:

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Next up in this Michèle Arnaud produced TV show is, you’ve guessed it, Michèle Arnaud!  Not too shy to give herself a slot on her own shows from time to time.  It’s a wonder her little boy Dominique Walter is not here too but you can’t have it all.  Well, you can because this track, Ballade des oiseaux de croix, was written for Michèle Arnaud by my number one favourite: Serge Gainsbourg.  In that case, sing away, Michèle, sing away!

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Right, the first track from Claude François (yeah, sorry there are two…) is Mais combien de temps – a slowie.  I must admit I quite like this track.  I tend to think of Claude François as an all-singing, all-dancing freak show but I am secretly fascinated with him – especially since I saw the Cloclo film last year.  Who would have known he was such a weirdo?  Hiding a son, running porn magazines, sleeping with countless groupies, all at the same time as portraying himself as a cleaning living family friendly chap. Amazing.  Of course it could be an inaccurate biopic as it was with the Gainsbourg film – spit!  Anyway, here is Cloclo:

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Wow, it’s a Gainsbourg-fest here, with Pourquoi un pyjama? from Régine:

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I love Serge – I love him SO much – but what is this song, eh?  It sounds like it was written for Klaus Nomi but instead has been sung by the Divine looky-likie Régine.  It’s not a good one.  And if asked for an opinion, I would say that even though Régine claims never to wear pyjamas, I could give her 100 reasons why I would rather she wore some. 

To make up for the disappointment here is Claude Bolling with a tiny kitten!

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Bolling was a French jazz pianist and he seemed to work with everyone and recorded loads of film soundtracks – including Vivre la nuit (which Serge was in) and Qui? a fabulous film starring Romy Schneider.   He was a busy guy, here he plays Kitten on the Keys with a little help from a gorgeous kitten, aw!

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And, now, the moment I was waiting for – Michel Polnareff with La poupée qui fait non and some scary ladies in masks who keep shaking their heads at him:Douches ecossaises 53Douches ecossaises 54Douches ecossaises 55Douches ecossaises 56

He looks totally cute here, doesn’t he?  No need to answer – I know I’m right.

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No special effects for Michel, just some quick editing which made it difficult for me to get the screen grabs I wanted, dammit!  Excellent clip though and worth waiting for.

Next up, another Gainsbourg collaborator, Valérie Lagrange – actress, singer and a very interesting and beautiful lady.  She’s appeared in films by Barbet Schroeder and Andrzej Żuławski, you know?  Anyway, this might not be Gainsbourg but it’s fabulous. It’s Le même jour by Francis Lai and Pierre Barouh.  Incredibly catchy, you’ll find, and doesn’t she look wonderful?

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Next, round two for Claude François who claims he has a tiger by the tail – Je tiens un tigre par la queue – he might be better off putting it in his guitar like Dutronc did.  The track’s okay and Cloclo’s dancing is good too, plus there are some good visuals.  This is alright, I suppose, but I preferred the first track.

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Not sure why he looks like he’s about to sneeze in that second photo…

Finally, to close the show with something annoying there’s a sketch from Muller et Ferrière (I guess they’re a comedy double-act, I really don’t know) with Jean-Christophe Averty in the municipal showers.  It’s not my kind of funny.

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But they seem to find it amusing, giving Jean-Christophe Averty the douche écossaise treatment.  O well.

Luckily the closing credits are fabulous so the show doesn’t have to end on a bad note:

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More French music shows soon.

Micky Amline autograph

I’m a big fan of the Swinging Mademoiselles type music so I was rather pleased to find this autograph of French 60s singer Micky Amline unexpectedly at a film fair:

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It’s signed to someone called Marie France and says something along the lines of “Long live the TWIST.  All my friendship [best wishes], Sincerely Micky”

Micky Amline’s real name was Christiane Ameline and she started out as a model before becoming a singer in 1959 with a band called Les Boutons Dorés.  In 1962 she signed to Disques Vogue as a solo artiste and released just a handful of EPs.  Some of you may know a couple of her tracks (Look and Garçon manqué) from the Ultra Chicks compilations.

Bernard Ferraro, lead guitarist with Les Cyclones and also guitarist for Françoise Hardy and Eddy Mitchell, accompanied Micky on guitar.  They later married.  I read somewhere that Bernard left the music industry and became an ornithologist (!) and also that Micky left the music industry after having a nasty car accident.  I don’t really know what happened but I do know that Micky / Christiane now runs a tea room with Bernard: L’Échauguette in Tusson, in the south west of France.  If I ever find myself in Tusson I might pop in to have a nose around!